Is Clay Guida the underdog in his upcoming BJJ match with Billy Quarantillo at Fury Pro Grappling 3?
Probably, but that’s right where he wants to be.
Two days after returning from a vacation in Mexico to celebrate his 40th birthday and his parents’ 45th wedding anniversary, Clay Guida got word that there was an opportunity to grapple UFC featherweight Billy Quarantillo at Fury Pro Grappling 3. No part of Guida hesitated. Yes. Yes. Yes.
“Billy Q is so much fun to watch,” Guida said. “I’ve watched a handful of his fights and he’s such a sparkplug. He is just a firecracker. High-paced, super active. I feel like every time I watch him fight it’s Fight of the Night or potential Fight of the Night. That kid’s just pure entertainment. When you get two guys like us rolling around it’s going to be a great matchup.”
The card was enticing enough, but with the chance to grapple a fighter he is clearly a fan of, nothing was going to get in the way. Especially not the underdog label.
As it would turn out, some of Guida’s biggest career moments have been when he was an underdog.
“At the time I fought against Josh Thomson, nobody really knew who we were,” Guida explained. “I was on a tear in the Midwest. We were relatively unknown on the lightweight circuit, but we got that fight, we accepted it and made a name for ourselves.”
Guida still remembers the fight clear as day. Over 18,000 people booing him and only his two cousins on his side with inaugural Strikeforce gold on the line.
At the end of it all, Guida would earn the UD win. As Chuck Norris wrapped the belt around his waist, it all paid off. All of the hard work and all of the rejection of doubt came together in front of both of his fans and over 18,000 Josh Thomson fans.
“I didn’t know how good Josh Thomson or how decorated he was. I knew he fought in the UFC and fought Yves Edwards and stuff, but I think the fact that I didn’t care about all that was what kept me in it. He was just another guy in my weight class getting in the way of a UFC contract.”
Guida would go on to earn a UFC contract, and just as he prefers, he made his way to the Octagon as the underdog again all the way back at UFC 64.
The man who doesn’t even have a white belt, as he likes to say, submitted Justin James in the closing seconds of the second round of his debut.
Next to these two fights and the obvious brawl with Diego Sanchez, a fight now in the UFC Hall of Fame, another win that is close to Guida’s heart was his most recent: a second round rear naked choke over accomplished grappler Leonardo Santos.
“I’ll be realistic,” Guida laughed. “Yeah, I didn’t expect to go out there and submit a five or six- or seven-time world champ. I’m not going to lie but I did expect to go down there and take him down over and over and just out wrestle him and win the fight. Finishing him with a rear naked choke like the way I beat my first guy in my debut and doing it 15 years later against a guy with a super decorated career, that’s a byproduct of super dedicated work and belief and expectations.”
Guida describes his ground game as “caveman jiu jitsu,” nothing past “taking guys down and having fun.” Yet some of his biggest moments have come by way of submission.
The stakes may not be as high as a UFC debut or the first fight card with your parents back in the audience or even Chuck Norris presenting you with a belt, but you never quite know what to expect when Clay Guida is competing.
“Call it ironic, call it whatever,” Guida said. “Sports are crazy. Anything can happen. Mixed martial arts gets crazier every single event. You see lopsided fights, guys beating guys they’re not supposed to, super underdogs. The underdog is such a dangerous individual. We never have anything to lose.”
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